PNGs site is quite interesting these days : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

PNGs site is quite interesting these days. A sample:

Japanese people really enjoy making everything complicated. They think something is "better" if it's complicated. The more complicated it is, the better it must be. Kind of like lawyers. Every plan, solution and phrase is routed through a special "esoteric generator." Of course, not too many people know this... That's why 92.563 % of all people have a Japanese-made VCR doing this right now:


Most people can't set the clock because they can't understand the manual. It's too complicated. I hope you don't know any engineers or programmers with a VCR like this...

-- a (a@a.a), December 31, 1998


that's why i don't buy anything japanese if i have a choice. it seems they have never heard of the KISS principle.

-- Jocelyne Slough (, January 01, 1999.

# # # 19990101

a@a.a and Jocelyne:

There is a plausible reason why Japanese electronic stuff looks so "complicated" and may _be "better if it's complicated."

While working with embedded controller systems at Ford Motor Company, Electronics Technology Center ( ETC--circa 1996 ), Dearborn, MI--now Visteon(tm)--there were Electrical Engineers that performed "competitive analysis" of the electronics of the competition. Competitive analysis consists of purchasing parts ( whole vehicle$, in thi$ in$tance ) then, dissecting ( disassembling/deconstructing ) the electronic components for evaluation and comparative process/quality/price "improvement."

The analysis results were sort of astounding. It turns out, that the Japanese, in 1996, were using subcomponents and processes that dated back to the early 1970's!!!

Lesson Learned:

If it ain't broken, don't fix it; build on it.

This is one ( technological-based ) reason that the Japanese were/are beating the pants off of U.S. auto makers.

By sticking with _proven ( robust ) technology, the parts keep getting cheaper and cheaper over the long haul--decreasing production material costs significantly. In this case, that long haul was about 25 years worth of decrease in costs of subcomponents.

Another cost/benefit to this strategy is big savings in R&D--that they didn't have to expend! In the U.S., the culture and market _put a premium value_ on "innovation!"

Culturally, the Japanese are not so much innovators ( i.e., Maverick's )--anathema in their culture--as they are expert at reverse engineering. The Japanese, therefore, "leverage" off of the labor of others. This is also evidenced by the _lack_ of their ability to develope business software applications! Ever notice that the Japanese seem to really focus on games ( graphics and symbols )? Due to the hundreds of unique Japanese dialects and symbols, common business software is extremely difficult for them to develop. Microsoft has figured it out ( innovation! ), though!

So, when engineering with legacy technologies, things may appear to be rather complicated. However, all things being equal, if innovation isn't justified, real costs and savings can be realized.

Kind of like storing 2-digit years instead of fully qualified years. Doh! ... ;-)

Thought you might find this an interesting anecdote.

Regards, Bob Mangus # # #

-- Robert Mangus (, January 01, 1999.

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